Strengthening Regional Integration: AfDB Strategy Paper 2019-2025 for Central Africa made available

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It was presented on September 16, 2019 in Yaounde, during a regional workshop co-chaired by Alamine Ousmane Mey, Minister of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development, and Ousmane Doré,...

The AfDB's new Regional Integration Strategy Paper for Central Africa (RISP-CA), covering the period 2019-2025, aims at revamping integration dynamics in Central Africa, with a view to supporting diversification and structural transformation efforts in Central African economies. This includes "increasing the volume of intra-Community trade in Central Africa to 6% by 2025, from the current 2%". According to Ousmane Doré, Director General of the AfDB Central Africa Office, the RISP-CA is essentially based on two mainstays, namely the developing regional infrastructure (transport, energy, telecommunications) and assisting structural reforms to support intra-regional trade development and capacity building. Its needs are estimated at 4.4 billion dollars, or about 2,400 billion CFA francs, 88% of which are dedicated to the development of regional infrastructure and 12% to support reforms. Specifically with regard to the second mainstay, it is planned, inter alia, to support the ongoing rationalisation of the two Regional Economic Communities in Central Africa (CEMAC, ECCAS), improve the business climate and creating conditions conducive to private sector development, and contribute to eliminating non-tariff trade barriers.
In order to operationalise this document, the AfDB has prepared a Regional Indicative Programme based on the two mainstays mentioned above and including 30 new integration projects. These complement the actions being implemented, including the construction of the Yaounde-Brazzaville corridor, the financing of the bridge over the Logone River between Yagoua and Bongor, the study of the project to build the bridge over the Ntem River on the Kribi-Campo-Bata axis, etc.

It should be noted that the 2019-2025 RISP-CA, adopted in March 2019 by the AfDB Group's Board of Directors, was developed using a community-based approach. Its objectives and mainstays take into account the socio-political and economic context of the States concerned, as well as the orientations of the African Union, the strategic vision for 2025 of ECCAS and the Regional Economic Programme 2017-2021 of CEMAC. Through this approach, the Cameroon Minister in charge of the Economy, Planning and Regional Development believes that "the new RISP-CA makes it possible to operationalise progress towards the implementation of the African continental free trade zone in Central Africa". Hence the need to take ownership of it.

Regional integration is one of the AfDB's five priorities for the continent's development. Other priorities are: enlightening Africa, feeding Africa, industrializing Africa and improving the quality of life of Africans.Afin d’opérationnaliser ce document, la BAD a préparé un Programme Indicatif Régional articulé autour des deux piliers sus-cités et comprenant 30 nouveaux projets intégrateurs, qui viennent en complément des actions en cours de mise en œuvre, notamment la construction du corridor Yaoundé-Brazzaville, le financement du pont sur le fleuve Logone entre Yagoua et Bongor, l’étude du projet de construction du pont sur le fleuve Ntem sur l’axe Kribi-Campo-Bata, etc.

Il faut noter que le DSIR-AC 2019-2025, adopté en mars 2019 par le Conseil d’Administration du Groupe de la BAD, a été élaboré suivant une approche participative. Ses objectifs et piliers prennent en compte le contexte socio-politique et économique des Etats concernés, ainsi que les orientations de l’Union Africaine, de la vision stratégique à l’horizon 2025 de la CEEAC et du Programme Economique Régional 2017-2021 de la CEMAC. Par cette approche, le Ministre camerounais en charge de l’Economie, de la Planification et de l’Aménagement du Territoire pense que « le nouveau DSIR-AC permet d’opérationnaliser les progrès vers la mise en œuvre de la zone de libre-échange continentale africaine au niveau de l’Afrique centrale ». D’où la nécessité de s’en approprier.

L’intégration régionale fait partie des 05 priorités de la BAD en faveur du développement du continent. Les autres priorités sont : éclairer l’Afrique, nourrir l’Afrique, Industrialiser l’Afrique et Améliorer la qualité de vie des africains.